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PAAC: Programa de Asistencia Bioenergética y Apoyo al Campesino

Background:
Paac was founded 27 years ago by a group of students from the Faculty of Agriculture at San Simon University. The founding members are still involved with the organization and all remain active in the field of environmental protection. Over the years, PAAC has been fundamental in the creation of FOBAMADE (The Bolivian Environmental Forum), FOCAMADE (The Cochabamba Environmental Forum), and they are part of LIDEMA (The Defense League for the Environment).

Objectives:
PAAC serves rural communities, companies, and municipalities that need assistance with issues of environmental protection, rural development and disaster prevention. Its projects range from research and environmental education, to work with alternative energies such as bio-energy and lobbying. The organization uses education as the main tool to provoke change in the way people think and perceive environmental issues. By promoting a culture of prevention, PAAC hopes to encourage environmental change.

Who does PAAC help?
PAAC works with a several different municipalities both in the tropical zone and central zone of Cochabamba.

Working Conditions:
The central office of PAAC is located about twenty minutes from the Cochabamba city center, although volunteers will also spend time in rural locations in the surrounding areas. There are seven permanent staff members at PAAC plus an additional 15 volunteers, mostly from Bolivia.

PAAC Programs:
PAAC runs five different programs, two of which are open to volunteers.

Campaigning:
One of PAACs most vital goals is educating and campaigning to the Bolivian people on the importance of the environment. Campaigns aspire to open minds and change perspectives.

Volunteer/ internship opportunities include:

  • Creating and running educational workshops
  • Raising awareness through leaflets, posters etc
  • Creating a research project according to interest/knowledge
  • Organizing eco-fairs
  • Working with other institutions/governments
  • Developing policies and lobbying for a change

Community Awareness:
This project raises awareness by doing outreach work in rural communities and educating people on how to take preventative measures so as to protect the future of the environment.

Volunteer/ internship opportunities include:

  • Researching various zones around Bolivia, analyzing current situations and publishing results
  • Outreach work in rural areas – organizing weekly meetings and seminars on topics such as recycling or water contamination
  • Developing a project according to volunteer interest
  • Providing assistance to the administration

Volunteer/ Internship requirements:

  • Advanced Spanish
  • Minimum commitment period of 3 months
  • Good interpersonal skills and outgoing
  • A sincere desire to help